Andreas Bakkerud has taken his second win of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship as he fended off a strong challenge from Team Peugeot-Hansen for the victory in the Supercar Final.
Bakkerud started on Pole Position from Timmy Hansen, who had won Semi-Final two, whilst Volkswagen RX Sweden driver Johan Kristoffersson was joined on row two by Hansen’s team-mate Sebastien Loeb. Championship leader Mattias Ekstrom completed the final row with Kristoffersson’s team-mate Anton Marklund alongisde him. Whilst Hansen took the lead of the line, Bakkerud took his joker on lap one along with Kristoffersson and then he demonstrated the pace of the Hoonigan Racing Ford Focus RS RX as he chased down the pack in front.
Completing the first lap, Hansen landed badly at the jump before the final corner and this held up Loeb, who would lose a place to a flying Marklund in the VW Polo. However as Hansen increased his lead to see off the challenge from Bakkerud’s early joker lap, Loeb found himself held up behind the young Swedish driver and this allowed both Bakkerud and Kristoffersson to close in. Ekstrom took his joker on lap two, however a throttle issue brought the EKSRX Audi S1 to a halt soon after.
Marklund jokered on lap four and this unleashed Loeb to try and fend off the flying Bakkerud. However the Norwegian driver had done enough as both of the Peugeot-Hansen drivers took their joker on the last lap with Bakkerud then taking the lead. Hansen pushed the Ford Focus all the way to the finish line, but he was unable to stop Bakkerud taking the win. Loeb claimed second place over the line as Hansen suffered a handbrake failure but he was far enough ahead of Marklund to claim the final podium spot. Marklund claimed fourth place whilst fifth place seemed to be a poor finish for Kristoffersson who dominated Qualifying to be TQ for the first time this year.
Andreas Bakkerud was overjoyed with the win, “If someone had told me a couple of months ago that I would win Norway and Sweden, I would have told them they were mad! Inside my Ford Focus RS Supercar, I have a really big mirror and all I could see was a nine-time World Champion [Sebastien Loeb] behind me – I couldn’t relax. Even on the last lap, I kept thinking about what happened with Timmy [Hansen] and Mattias [Ekstrom] last year and I absolutely wasn’t going to let that happen again,” explained Bakkerud.
“I want to say a big thank you to my team – the conditions throughout the weekend were extremely difficult with it being wet one minute and dry the next. I trusted the guys with the different car set-ups and they didn’t let me down.”
Sebastien Loeb was happy to take another podium finish, “The car and equipment has worked very well this weekend and I had a great battle with Andreas in the final,” explained Loeb.
“It’s been a weekend of ups and downs – we made a mistake in Q2 and have had some punctures so it’s not been easy but for sure it’s good for Team Peugeot-Hansen to have two drivers in the top three. It now makes sense why they called Sweden the magic weekend – it has a great atmosphere, the track is nice and very demanding. I still have a lot of learn in rallycross but I’m getting there and I’m really looking forward to the next few races.”
Timmy Hansen explained how lucky he was to make the podium, “I actually dislocated my shoulder in the second or third lap but it didn’t stop me pushing,” explained the 22-year-old Swede.
“Myself and Andreas have been fighting in Holjes for the past few years and it’s very difficult to overtake on this track but I gave it everything. Andreas definitely had a better joker lap and sadly I couldn’t catch him on the final lap and then my handbrake broke on the final corner – the rear wheels locked and I couldn’t get to the finish line quick enough before Sebastien past me.”
Championship leader Mattias Ekstrom praised Bakkerud on his win after retiring himself on lap three, “We had to fight a lot from the beginning: in Q1, the e-throttle broke and there was no throttle after two laps. We fought back, but when we were halfway through the same problem popped up again. This is quite strange, because we have never had problems with this part before. Anyway, congratulations to Andreas – he did a good job here and deserves the victory.”
Ekstrom’s rival Petter Solberg missed out on a place in the Final after coming home in fourth place in his Semi-Final race, however he still remains five points behind the former DTM champion in the drivers standings whilst EKSRX holds a 32 point lead over Team Peugeot-Hansen in the Teams championship as the series enjoys its summer break.